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5 things to tell your kids about preventing sexual assault

  1. Listen to Your Gut. Let your kids know, "Almost always, when you feel something is not right, you are correct." Tell them, “You know the difference between right and wrong. All you have to do is listen to YOU." Build your child's confidence in their own decision-making. After all, you won't be there with them at friends' houses or at parties.
  2. Remind Yourself WHY. For people of all ages, intervening by saying something or stepping in can be intimidating. Give your child the right reasons to step in. Kids want to do what is right. Share with them: "When you remind yourself 'WHY' this moment is so important, you are much more likely to make the right choice and take the action needed at that very moment. When you see someone giving another person alcohol to facilitate sexual assault, simply remind yourself, 'A person whom is not of sound mind canNOT consent to sexual activity. What I'm watching could result in a sexual assault. That is ALL the WHY I need to do something right now.'"
  3. TEAM Up. The idea of being the only person to say something can be even more daunting in your teenage years, especially with the pressures to "fit in." Say the following to your child to help your kids realize they don't have to step in alone. "Most often, you are at a party with friends. Talk to your friends before the party about being a 'team' and helping each other out when any of you sees or senses something is wrong. Remind your friends how awesome they are and how much you value the fact you can turn to each other."
  4. Check-In. Suggest to your kids that they gather their friends and walk over to a situation that seems risky and check-in. They should ask if everyone is okay, and if it doesn’t feel right, start by distracting the person who appears to be doing the harm and/or setting up a potentially dangerous situation. Remind your kids to expect that person to try and act like everything is fine and make it seem like there is nothing to worry about. Your kids should continue to follow their initial intuition and remind themselves that the other person is WORTH continuing to check-in.
  5. Remember whose fault it is. Most important, tell your kids a sexual assault is NEVER the survivor's fault. Blaming survivor's for drinking, what they wear, or if they were flirting is not okay. Only the perpetrator, the criminal, is responsible and at fault for a sexual assault. And if your teen tries to intervene and is unsuccessful, he or she should know the criminal is still the one at fault. As long as your kids do their best to check-in because they care about others, that is the right choice to make. Remind them, “You know your "WHY." Keep living that "WHY" and being the awesome person you are.

- These tips provided by Mike Domitrz, founder and Executive Director of “The Date Safe Project”